2.3.17 Alistair Burt Demands Urgent Meeting For All Beds MPs With Inspector, Chief Constable and Police Commissioner Over Police Report
Findings "'harsh' on Bedfordshire, but public require improvement and resources."
NE Bedfordshire MP Alistair Burt has demanded an urgent 'clear the air' meeting with those responsible for Bedfordshire's policing and the county's MPs. This follows today's publication of the HMI report rating the local force 'inadequate'- the only such rating in the country. The report also highlights the lack of funding for Bedfordshire's police over many years, on which all Bedfordshire's MPs, Conservative and Labour, have united.
Mr Burt said:
'Today's report will be disappointing for a hard working police force, and for the community that depends upon them. I remain grateful and supportive of officers who do a difficult job in our county. 'Inadequate' seems a harsh judgement, when headline statistics show little difference with a number of national averages and good performance in terms of recorded crime and victim satisfaction.
But there are also very worrying comments in the report including the Inspector’s view that the force has 'little understanding of the communities it serves', and is weak on its response to organised crime.
It is noticeable that many of the weaknesses are linked by HMI to the poor resourcing of a force with unique characteristics of being largely rural, but dealing with significant national issues, not least terror and a major UK airport. MPs will make renewed and urgent efforts to persuade Government that the funding crisis can no longer be pushed aside, as successive Governments have done.
But there is also a sharp difference of view between the Chief Constable and the Inspector about the quality of the force, and I believe it is in the public interest that we seek to resolve this. I am therefore calling for the HMI, the Chief Constable and the PCC to meet together as soon as possible with all Bedfordshire MPs. I need to have them in the same room to hear their positions, and above all what can be done to deliver the sort of performance required by our constituents.
I am sure we will all share a common determination to ensure that Bedfordshire and Luton has justifiable confidence in our local police, as our communities deserve.'